People have been amazing during the lockdown – caring for neighbours, for the homeless and for the elderly and disadvantaged. We all have tales to tell of kindness and selflessness in response to the threat posed by covid. We should be proud of Stroud and how our community has pulled together in the emergency.

Last year, the Council declared a climate and ecological emergency and so did Parliament. That emergency has not gone away: we all experienced the heatwave of April and May; every gardener knows how dry it was. Covid has drawn attention to the deadly effect of air pollution in our towns and cities. Further afield we read about wildfires in the arctic circle, where cities are sinking as the permafrost melts. Only 6% of the population wants to go back to the old ‘normal’; we realise now how toxic it was – physically and mentally.

Covid has given us an unprecedented illustration of how vulnerable we are – to illness yes, but also to disruption of supplies of food and other essentials (remember the toilet rolls?), disruption of public and private transport, and how vulnerable our jobs and livelihoods are. We’ve also seen how government can provide massive amounts of money to support us in an emergency.

In September, Extinction Rebellion is planning a new wave of actions. But this time, it is not just about the climate; it is about the toxic nature of business as usual. Now the vast majority of people realise business as usual was killing us, whether that’s polluted air or our stressed-out debt-fuelled lifestyles. We know we need to change and we know that the government is failing to lead us towards safety.

So, please consider joining us. XR has made mistakes in the past but that doesn’t mean it was wrong; about where we are all being led by the government’s inability to act to protect us and the need to prepare for the drastic changes that are coming. Covid has shown what people can do and if they are set free to act with kindness and love: now we need to address the bigger emergency in the same way we have responded to the virus.

David Lambert, Stroud